- Airsoft 101
- Reviews of the Top 5 Airsoft Guns
Whether you’re looking to play a combat sport or hunt small game, an airsoft gun can deliver. These guns aren’t just toys anymore. There is a surprising amount of variation in quality, ranging from the toy store variety to close replicas of military grade weaponry. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the most important factors to consider in purchasing an airsoft gun and look at some of the top products on the market.
Here is a quick summary of the best airsoft guns we reviewed:
|Image||Name||Price (relative)||Our Rating (out of 5.0)|
|Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle||$$$||5.0|
|Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston Air Rifle||$$||4.9|
|Umarex Diana RWS 34 Breakbarrel Rifle, T06 Trigger Air Rifle||$$$$$||4.9|
|G&G Combat Machine M4 Raider Airsoft Rifle||$$$$||4.8|
|Soft Air Kalishnikov Tactical AK47 Electric Powered Airsoft Rifle||$$$||4.8|
Maybe you’re the experienced owner of many airsoft guns, but maybe this is your first purchase. Where do you start?
Airsoft is a recreational sport in which participants shoot plastic bb pellets at one another. The sport is similar to paintball. They were originally created as replica firearms. Now they are seen as a safer alternative to BB guns, which use metal bbs.
People play in airsoft fields and participate in competitions and leagues. Players comprise a much larger community than you might expect. The sport itself varies.
Some play “survival” games similar to paintball, where the goal is simply to take out other opponents and avoid getting shot. There are also variations, where teams might participate in a common goal like capture the flag or Battle Royale:
Not all airsoft gun owners play the sport. People choose airsoft guns to hunt small game like rabbits and squirrels or to address a pest problem.
Others find that airsoft guns are a good option for a younger crowd. They can be used to teach children about weapons safety with less risk. Even some adults find that it can be a cheaper alternative to practice with firearms.
Airsoft guns use plastic ammunition, part of the reason they can be cheaper and considered safer for use. The bb pellets, which stand for “Ball Bearing,” are about 6mm wide. Weight varies, but the weights most typically in use are.20g, .25g, .28g, .30g, .36g, and .43g. Other weights exist but are usually off-brands. For beginners, 20g bb’s are fine, but more serious players will want to go with .25g or higher.
Types of Airsoft
Before you purchase an airsoft gun, you should be aware that there are three different types: spring-powered, gas, and automatic electric guns (AEGs).
Spring-powered or “springer”
The cheapest type airsoft guns are powered by a spring. They will be present at your local sporting goods stores and at the cheapest end of the spectrum, in the toy section of any retail supercenters.
To fire, you need to pull back the spring, cock it, and then pull the trigger. Pulling the trigger releases a spring, which pushes a piston that forces the bb out of your gun’s cylinder at a high speed.
Typically spring-powered guns can propel a bb at 280fps, or feet per second.
A major disadvantage is that you need to do this every time you fire a shot, which greatly slows you down. This type of gun is well-suited for those looking for something similar to a shotgun or sniper rifle.
Springers are usually made almost entirely of plastic and are lower quality than the other two types of airsoft guns. While they work for beginners, serious players shy away from the spring-powered variety.
Gas powered guns use a compressed gas to propel bb pellets. There are three types of gas used in airsoft guns: propane, CO2, and green gas.
Propane is more reliable and has more shots per cartridge. It’s also cheaper and more accessible. When you run out, you can go to a nearby refill station to fill up. You only need an airsoft adapter in addition to your propane tank.
The one inconvenience is that propane requires you to lubricate your gun. Since propane is a dry gas, your gun needs to be lubricated with silicone after firing. While propane doesn’t have as much power as CO2, it is still the most common gas used in airsoft.
Carbon dioxide will give your gun the most power. If your gun is a lower grade, this power might be too much for your gun and cause it to break.
As the most powerful, CO2 is the most expensive type of gas, but it gives you fewer shots per cartridge compared to propane. It also requires a special converter. CO2 is less accessible as well; you have to buy it from a specialty store or online.
Green gas is propane mixed with silicone. This solves the inconvenience of lubricating after each use when you’re using propane. Green gas will give you about 1,000 shots per can, however, it is much more expensive than propane.
With gas guns you’ll feel some recoil, imitating the feel of a real gun. You can find the highest quality gun you’ll ever need in a gas-powered gun.
Automatic Electronic Guns (AEGs)
Automatic Electronic Guns are the most common type of airsoft gun. They operate with a spring-piston system that automatically cocks the piston using gears.
The system is powered by batteries. The cheaper ones typically use AA, while better quality guns use rechargeable, specialized batteries. Not all guns come with their own battery and charger, particularly higher-end guns. Even if your gun does, you may want an extra pack to use as a back-up.
AEGs can vary so much that it’s worth distinguishing between different tiers. Low Price Electric Guns (LPEGs) and Mid Price Electric Guns (MPEGs) are different from true Automatic Electric Guns (AEGs). All have the same electric powered gear and automatic piston but vary in quality and price.
One of the most popular aspects of AEGs is how much you can customize them. Upgrades are common among serious AEG owners. Almost any kink in a gun can be worked out with some sort of upgrade or adjustment. For those looking to customize, an AEG is an excellent choice.
Why are You Buying?
The last thing you’ll need to consider before buying a gun is its use. Why do you want an airsoft gun? If it’s for pest control or a gift for a child, you won’t need anything too strong. However, if you’re looking to play competitively, you’ll want a higher caliber airsoft to keep up.
Reviews of the Top 5 Airsoft Guns
We’ve reviewed five high-quality airsoft guns that meet our standards for power and quality.
- Special-edition 60th anniversary AK47 electric-powered airsoft rifle
- Includes full Kalashnikov trademarks and logo as special edition
- Integrated tactical rails
- Folding, removable foregrip
- Nylon fiber foldable stock
- Metal upper receiver and barrel
- Metal gears/gearbox
- High capacity magazine (550 rounds)
- Muzzle velocity of 330-380fps with a .20g bb
- Fires up to 600 rounds per minute
- Power range of approx. 66 yards
- Adjustable Spin-Up Shooting System.
- Premium 8.4v 1200mah small “stick” battery and wall charger included.
- Battery wires are a tight fit inside the battery compartment, making it difficult to put the cover on at first
- Stock can be difficult to unfold
The Soft Air Kalishnikov Tactical AK47 is a special edition created for its 60th anniversary. It has a realistic look and feels, with the majority of its parts made from high grade cast aluminum. This gun has high accuracy and reliability. The magazines have a higher capacity, allowing for longer use and its power can reach nearly 400fps.
- .177 caliber
- 1200fps with PBA ammunition or 1000fps with 0.177 caliber match-grade lead bullets
- Skeleton stock
- 4×32 air rifle scope with rings
- Non-removable noise dampener reduces the noise by up to 52%
- Ventilated rubber pad for recoil absorption
- Manual trigger safety
- Automatic cocking safety system
- Includes base for mounting
- One year limited warranty
- Noise dampener is less effective when using PBA ammo (with velocities reaching 1280-1330fps), but it does protect the muzzle
- Trigger requires a hard pull, which can make accurate shots difficult
- Bright fiber dots on iron sights are hard to see in bright light
The Gamo Whisper Silent Cat reaches very high power, especially when used with PBA ammo. It can easily do the job when it comes to small game hunting. While we appreciate the noise dampener, it didn’t have much effect when used with PBA. This sniper rifle is made with black synthetic stock and has great durability.
- Breakbarrel Gas piston 11mm scope dovetail (no open sights)
- Two sizes: 0.177 caliber at 1,200 fps or 0.22 caliber at 950 fps
- Includes unmounted CenterPoint Optics 4×32 scope and mount (no open sights)
- Ergonomic thumbhole stock
- Dual raised cheekpieces
- Muzzlebrake for added leverage
- 2-stage adjustable trigger
- Reduced vibration due to the gas piston
- Much quieter than other break barrels
- Nitro Piston results in smoother cocking and shooting
- No spring torque
- No spring fatigue, even if you leave it cocked for hours
- Functions well even in cold weather
- Lasts longer than a metal spring
- One year limited warranty
- Scope rail grooves do not hold scope rings tightly and cause sliding
- Trigger pull is stiff and takes force to release
This gas airsoft gun boasts additional benefits that not all AEGs can. The Nitro Piston system allows it to shoot and cock more smoothly. It is also more resistant to temperature changes. The Benjamin Titan GP is more adjustable and allows for comfort with its cheek pieces, thumbhole stock, and ambidextrous capability. It even runs cheaper than other guns on our list.
- Two options: .177 (4.5mm) and .22 (5.5mm) cal caliber
- Maximum velocity1000fps (for the .177) or 800fps (for .22)
- Capacity is 1-shot
- Cocking Effort is 33lbs
- Break barrel action
- Spring power
- Two-stage adjustable TO6 trigger is smooth and good for this price range
- Fiber optic sights for easy shooting even without a scope
- Fully adjustable rear
- Classic wood design and high-quality finish
- Well-balanced hardwood stock is easy to hold and shoot
- Not too loud of a shooter
- Price, being the most expensive of our picks
- Safety can be difficult to put on and off and grinds against metal
- Scope mount recoil screws fit loose
The Diana RWS has a clean, well-crafted design with two different caliber options. It’s a great choice for paper targets and spinners, as well as small game and pests. There are a few minor kinks, but otherwise, our main hesitation is the price. It now comes with the T06 trigger, which one of the finest.
- AEG Airsoft Rifle
- Polymer Body
- 8mm oil-less metal bushing
- Metal Gearbox
- Torque Motor
- Adjustable Rear sight
- Close replica of an M4
- 350 fps
- Battery or charger bought separately
- Collapsing the stock can be difficult with battery location
The Combat Machine M4 Raider is a quality piece of work, very closely replicating a real M4. It’s an excellent gun for beginners, being lightweight and easy to handle. For experienced users, it is easy to add optics or sites.
Our Choice: Gamo Whisperer Silent Cat
The Silent Cat has very high fps, ranging from 1000 to 1200 depending on the type of ammo you use. It has some great features like the skeleton stock and a noise dampener, although as we mentioned, the gun can still be pretty loud.
The Titan GP was a good gas option, but more often had issues with the scope and trigger pull. We wouldn’t completely discount the Titan since these issues can be fixed with modification or upgrades.
The Kalishnikov Tactical AK47 and Combat Machine M4 both had significantly lower fps. Not everyone needs an extremely high fps, but the Silent Cat’s velocity makes it more competitive than these two. Although they were highly rated and had some other great features.